Friday, November 26, 2010

Poem - The Mountain

no mountain climbing is worth it
unless your heart breaks halfway for how big the mountain is
and there is no confession to ease it
simply is

night falls and you feel lost
you can't go back
you must wait for the dawn
to see where you are

it isn't worth it unless you pray then
and there is no comfort because
you see how small you are to

fate flickers like a candle
you reach for faith like a sane person
feels for light or a rope
or a map

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Poem - Morning

thanksgiving day

my words have failed me
thank god for the failure of words

i'm sun
i'm the pool cleaner mechanically going about
through a dreamy shadow
under water

then of this reveille
a bird cuts through the air

black phoebe to the best place
in the backyard


november 25

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poem - Venus Rises Over The House

venus rises over the house
suddenly everything holding onto
i let go of
as naturally as a sigh

i feel less weaponized
and how thru a whole bust life
i honed
my edges

day makes it seem
i never thought these things

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Joe Stalin Helps Me with the Crossword Puzzle

It is a sunny, pleasant morning in Newport Beach. Joseph Stalin and I are drinking coffee on the patio, and we are reading different parts of the newspaper.

"The Pope!" says Joe Stalin. "How many divisions does he have?"

"He doesn't need any divisions." I reply. "He's the Pope."

"I've KILLED men who dared to even THINK about speaking to me that way!" says Joe Stalin.

"What way?"

"The way you are talking to me right now!"

"But you asked me a question!"

"There you go again!" yells Joesph. "I don't want the TALKING after I talk -- I was making a STATEMENT."

"OK." I say, and I start the crossword puzzle.

After a few minutes of silence, Joesph Stalin throws down the want-ads.

"We'll hang all the capitalists with a rope -- and they'll sell it to us!" he proclaims. He sticks his thumbs into his belt loops and looks at me.

I keep working on the crossword puzzle, it is very hard and frustrating. And I wonder inwardly, what does J.S. mean? What does the rope represent? Why a rope? How much rope? When would this hanging take place? What does the hanging, or 'hanging' signify -- literally or figuratively, or metaphorically? etc. etc.

"Well!?!" says Joe Stalin.

"I'm sorry, you told me to not interrupt." I reply. "But now that you asked, what is a 7 letter word that starts with an 'A' for the clue 'Alike: Twin'?"

Stalin thinks. "Hmmm. Try 'Achiral'."

I try it. "No."




"Now you're guessing."

Stalin throws all the papers into the air and I hear them cascading down the side of the balcony. "ALL THE TALKING MUST STOP!"


About a hour later Pope Pius XI comes by, after playing golf at Pelican Hill. He's in a good mood, tan, serene, he mentions he shot an 83.

I think Joe is going to go at him for the pope thing, and I wait for it, pretending not to be hoping, but Pius and Joesph talk about baseball, and the Giants.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Chung Tzu Has Had Enough of Me

Now, at mid-morning, I am doing things. Chung Tzu is here, and I am trying to ignore him.

Bread needs to be sliced. I cut the bread with a knife.

"Oh!" says Chung Tzu. So I cut harder.

A mirror needs to be hung. I get a screwdriver and I drive the screws into the wall.

"My." murmurs Chung Tzu. So I drive the screws harder.

A cabinet should be repaired. I get out the hammer and some small shiny nails. I hammer away.

Chung Tzu has had enough of me. "Tisk-Tisk!"

"And what?"

"I've seen what you're up to --you use all your tools the wrong way tools should be used! You use a knife like it is a knife, a screwdriver like a screwdriver, and gracious! A hammer like a hammer!"

"And how should I use a tool like a tool?" I ask irritably.

"Well, right now, I certainly can't tell you. But I do know you're hurting them all. Possibly you should just stop what you are doing."

Chung Tzu leaves.

It is quiet when he is gone, very still. My feeling are hurt. I look at the knife, the screwdriver, and the hammer. I arrange them on the table, and I reflect on what I was doing.

"I'm sorry if I have been hurting you." I say to the knife, the screwdriver, and the hammer.

I decide not to cut, drive screws, or hammer for awhile.


When it is getting dark, Chung Tzu comes back. He sees the tools on the table.

"I'm sorry." I say, and I look down at my hands. "I see I don't know how to use tools right."

Chung Tzu smiles, and gives me a bear hug. "Ok, Brother. There, there."

The first star of the night rises.


Dedicated to David Given Schwarm

Chung Tzu Fishing - Me Thinking

After the sun rises, I'm walking on the trail that loops around Back Bay. Around a steep bend in the track, I see Chung Tzu with a length of string and an old piece of wood. He has part of the string wrapped around the wood in the middle, but I don't think that he would ever catch anything -- it is comical, there is no hook.

"Good morning!" I say.

"Good morning!" says Chung Tzu.

"Going to go Fishing? I don't see you catching much with that!"

"Going to go Thinking? I'm sure you won't catch much your way, either!"

We both smile.

We both look at the vast expanse of Back Bay in the morning, and the wind comes up.


For Camilla